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Gov Alia Commissions PCR Laboratory, Appreciates Efforts Of US CDC In The Control Of HIV/AIDS In Benue



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Benue State Governor, Rev, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has appreciated the United States Centre for Disease Control (US CDC), for their unwavering commitment and support to improving public health in Benue State, particularly in the fight against HIV/Aids.


The governor gave the appreciation during the commissioning of the state-of-the-art Molecular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Laboratory, and the Official presentation of the ISO15189:2012 laboratory Accreditation Certificate, at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, on Tuesday, June, 11th, 2024.


He appreciated the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, for the over two decades of support and partnership with the state, through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), APIN Public Health Initiatives, and other implementing partners in combating the HIV epidemic.


He disclosed that over 180,000 people living with HIV/Aids in the state are accessing life-saving Antiretroviral therapy (ART) across 264 public, private and faith based health facilities in the 23 local government areas in the state, as a result of the support from the US CDC.


“The partnership between the US CDC and the Benue State Ministry of Health, along with other health agencies in our state has been instrumental in our collective mission to end HIV as a public health threat. Through the generous funds and technical assistance provided by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, we have made significant strides in strengthening our healthcare infrastructure and enhancing our capacity to combat this epidemic.


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“With the PEPFAR support, over 180,000 people living with HIV are accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across 264 health facilities (public, private, and faith-based) in the 23 local government areas in the state, remarkably closing the HIV unmet treatment needs and placing Benue State on the path to HIV epidemic control.


“The prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program for pregnant-positive women in the state has made it possible for the birth of about 8,000 HIV-negative babies annually by women living with HIV providing a window of hope for an HIV-free generation. This strong partnership between the government and PEPFAR has turned the tide against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state. HIV/AIDS which was before now a major cause of death with significant socioeconomic impacts in communities has been transformed into a managed chronic disease with Benue at the threshold of meeting the global target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030,” he explained.


Governor Alia, while highlighting other areas of intervention by the US CDC such as the upgrade of infrastructure across some health facilities, capacity building programmes for healthcare workers, APIN PEPFAR/CDC funding support for Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), provision of cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions among women especially those living with HIV, collaboration and support for over 150,000 orphans and vulnerable children and their households, support for the remuneration of 21 medical doctors who work on the State Clinical Mentorship Program etc, expressed optimism that the commissioning of the (PCR) Laboratory, will play a crucial role in the efforts of the state government to diagnose, treat and prevent HIV/AIDS in the state.

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He further assured of his administration’s commitment to sustaining the HIV response in the state through public health infrastructural development and support for PLWHIV, Children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and other vulnerable populations for improved quality of life.


Earlier in her address, the Acting Country Director, United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Suzanne Theroux, said the commissioning of the PCR laboratory is a milestone for public healthcare provision in Benue and its neighbouring states.


She thanked everyone for their support for the success of the project, saying the renovation and equipping of the laboratory is a collaborative effort of the US CDC and its implementing partner, APIN, promising their continued partnership with Benue state.


Also in his address, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Professor Namgwa Joseph Kortor, said the establishment of the molecular laboratory at the hospital, demonstrates US CDC’s support and commitment towards improving healthcare services and combating diseases in communities in Benue and the country in general.


He expressed gratitude to APIN and the US government for their unwavering support and dedication to delivering high-quality health services to the public, assuring that the facility will be used to accurately diagnose infectious diseases within the communities in the state and beyond.

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